Skip to main content

Full text of "Wearables"

See other formats

Replace a Broken Zipper in a Coat or Jacket 


Make Projects 

build, hack, tweak, share, discover. 

Replace a Broken Zipper in a 

Coat or Jacket 

Written By: Rebekah Fox 


Pins (1) 

Seam ripper (1) 
Sewing machine (1) 
Tailor's tape (1) 


Zipper (1) 


We all know the sad but true story of zippers. Before the pocket tears or the elbows need 
patching, the zipper fails and the garment is soon sent to the darkest corner of the closet 
with a tear and a prayer that someday, someone will find a way to replace a zipper. Happily, 
there is a way and any home sewer probably has all the necessary tools right at hand. I will 
show you step-by-step how to assess the zipper malfunction, how to buy a new zipper, and 
of course, how to remove the old and sew in the new! 

To learn more about sewing, head to my blog: 

© Make Projects 

Page 1 of 8 

Replace a Broken Zipper in a Coat or Jacket 

Step 1 — Replace a Broken Zipper in a Coat or Jacket 

• I will be replacing the zippers on this jacket and coat today. Both have separating zippers. 

Step 2 

• What is a separating zipper? The white zipper pictured here is a separating zipper and 
unlike its sister zipper, the black, closed-end zipper, it can be opened at the bottom. 

© Make Projects 

Page 2 of 8 

Replace a Broken Zipper in a Coat or Jacket 

Step 3 

• The reason for a dysfunctional 
zipper varies. So before you start 
tearing out the old zipper, let's 
assess the problem. Look for these 

• 1. Zipper teeth are missing or 
jagged 2. Zipper box is broken or 
missing 3. Zipper slider is loose 
and seems to be coming off teeth 
4. Slider just can't seem to align 
teeth correctly 5. Slider doesn't 
smoothly glide up and down teeth 

• Problems #1 and #2 mean, without 
a shadow of a doubt, a zipper 
replacement. However, with #3, #4, 
and #5, there is hope in salvaging 
the old zipper. If your slider seems 
loose or is not aligning the teeth 
correctly, it could just mean that 
the slider is bent. 

• To fix the slider, use long nosed 
pliers and pinch the slider slightly 
to make the gap smaller. Don't 
clamp down too hard! Remember, 
it's easier to make the gap smaller 
than larger. So pinch and test, 
pinch and test. 

© Make Projects 

Page 3 of 8 

Replace a Broken Zipper in a Coat or Jacket 

Step 4 

• Now about #5 — slider doesn't slide 
up and down smoothly. There could 
be some miniscule flaw in the 
zipper but chances are the zipper, 
especially metal or brass ones, just 
needs a lube job. Have you heard 
about zipper soap? There are a 
number of good brands on the 
market. Like McNett Zip Tech. Well 
worth a try! 

Step 5 

• If there is no way to salvage the zipper, it's time to find a new one. But what size? To find 
the right size you need to measure the existing; from top to bottom. 

• On my jacket the zipper is 25". So I will buy a 25" long separating zipper. I buy my zippers 
from Hobby Lobby, Joann,, and my favorite, 

© Make Projects 

Page 4 of 8 

Replace a Broken Zipper in a Coat or Jacket 

Step 6 

• Time to remove the zipper! Hey, before you reach for the seam ripper, grab your camera. 
Take photos of the garment before so you know how you should put it all back together. 
Each coat/jacket is constructed differently so these pics will be invaluable later on. 

• Cut through a few stitches to make an opening and then run the seam ripper along the 
inside of the seam. Take your time at the beginning and end of the zipper because this is 
where a lot of tacking was done by the manufacturer. I broke many seam rippers by 
rushing the process. 

© Make Projects 

Page 5 of 8 

Replace a Broken Zipper in a Coat or Jacket 

Step 7 

• Take your new zipper and unzip it so you are working with one tape. For this coat I am just 
going to insert the zipper and pin it between the folded edges of the coat's Front and Back. 

I would traditionally seam the zipper to the Front edge by opening the fold and having raw 
edges even, but this coat's batting is escaping with a vengeance. 

• After pinning I hand baste the zipper using long running stitches. You absolutely need to 
baste! There are so many layers to deal with and don't forget those pesky snaps, velcro, 
or windbreakers that get in the way. It is the surest way to make your zipper straight and 
to avoid bubbling. 

© Make Projects 

Page 6 of 8 

Replace a Broken Zipper in a Coat or Jacket 

Step 8 

• There is a little trick to basting in the second zipper tape to the other side. The trick is to 
zip up the zipper and start pinning the second tape in place at the very top. 

• Once a few pins are in place you can unzip the zipper and continue pinning the entire 
length. Pinning at the top when the zipper is closed will ensure proper zipper placement. 
Once you are done pinning, zip up the zipper again and see if everything is aligned (like 
necklines and hems), and check to see if everything is lying flat. 

© Make Projects 

Page 7 of 8 

Replace a Broken Zipper in a Coat or Jacket 

Step 9 

1 ;' 

.. JB^I'Hf 

' M 

• With basting done it has come time 
for the actual sewing! The hand 
basting did most of the work here. 
All I have to do for this coat is 
machine topstitch along the original 
stitching line as seen in the photo. 

• I like to stitch with a size 100 
needle, zipper presser foot, and all- 
purpose thread, preferably 100% 
polyester, (just because the coat's 
outer shell is of the same fiber 
content). Finally, I lengthen my 
stitch length to 3.0. Depending 
upon the coat's construction, I will 
topstitch again right on the fold 
edge near the zipper teeth. 

• So that's how I replace a broken 
zipper on a coat or jacket. It isn't 
that hard to do, save for time- 
consuming hand basting and 
working with such bulky materials. 
With a little bit of gumption, I'm 
sure any home sewer can tackle 
the job. Just go to your nearest 
closet and pull out the dusty winter 
wear and get cracking! 

This document was last generated on 2013-02-01 06:09:37 PM. 

© Make Projects 

Page 8 of 8